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ThoughtsOnline

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


To me, there's a world of difference between an authorized program of torturing terrorists for the purpose of gaining information needed to protect ourselves against attack and torturing someone for nothing more than sadistic pleasures. And one of the big problems I have with those on the other side is their treating all torture - whether to gain information or merely to make someone's life miserable - as being one and the same...

And I believe that those on the other side are fully aware of the difference, yet choose to not acknowledge those differences. If they were to do so, they would lose much of their moral high ground they claim for themselves. So they continue to frame the debate in terms of what those idiots did at Abu Ghraib - behavior no one, not even those on my side of the argument, defends. As a result, they get to avoid having to weigh the value of a ban on torture of foreign terrorists against the tangible benefit of saving American lives.... a debate I believe they would find themselves on the small end of American public opinion.

An example of this can be found in this anti-torture post, in which the author argues against using torture because of the effect it would have on those doing the torturing.... but nowhere does he acknowledge that the torture that he is referencing was NOT torture for the purposes of gaining information needed to save lives, it was torture for the sake of torture.

I think that those torturing for the purpose of saving American lives might just very well feel pretty good about the job they did, much as our military and our policemen tend to feel pretty good about the job they do. I can very well a CIA agent, having gained information from torture that was used to stop a terrorist attack on his fellow Americans, would feel that they had done good.... just as a cop who shoots a gunman holding hostages might feel the same way.

It's all in the context... and when the other side ignores the context, I can only say they're being somewhat dishonest about the debate....

Thanks to TMV for the tip...